Gang Starr took the music world by storm with their brand of Hip Hop. They brought so much knowledge to Hip Hop, lyrically and to the production side of things that their impact is still felt in the world today.
They came from Boston, Massachusetts in 1985 by Keith Elam (who was to be known as Guru) and DJ 1,2 B-Down( aka Mike Dee). At the time they worked producers, Donald D and DJ Mark the 45 King. In 1987 and 1988, they released three singles on twelve inch through Wild Pitch Records. In the year of 1989, the group split but Guru was still determined to work under the name of Gang Starr. He soon got in touch with a Houston native that went by the name of DJ Premier( known as Waxmaster C at the time). He sent him a beat tape of his works, in which Guru liked and the marriage of these two innovators was set from there on out.
Guru sort of strong armed him into joining Gang Starr with him and in 1989, their first single was released, Words I Manifest that was a part of their first album, No More Mr. Nice Guy. They were signed quickly in the year of 1990 to the record label Chrysalis by then A&R director Duff Marlowe (a Los Angeles Times rap critic and former DJ). The label was London based and they offered them an unlimited artistic license along with a major-label distribution worldwide. Under this deal, the group became one of the most influential groups in Hip Hop history. They really were a major player in forming the hardcore Hip Hop sound of the East Coast.
Gang Starr's whole discography is good especially, 1990's Step in the Arena. With songs like, "Just to Get a Rep", "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?", "Lovesick", and "Step in the Arena" (these all being the singles off that album), Gang Starr climbed to #5 on the Hot Rap Singles charts. It really is a good Hip Hop mainstream piece that stays in the realm of the underground as well.
In 1992, Gang Starr came out with Daily Operation, in which Guru touched on various topics, to the government, women, pro-Black rights, anti-prejudice, weed smoking, and anger and sadness. Each track, both Guru and DJ Premier were given the producer credit. It had two hit singles, "Ex Girl to Next Girl" which landed at #5 on the Hot Rap Charts and "Take It Personal" which landed at #1 on the Hot Rap Charts. The album itself hit #14 on the Top R&B/Rap Albums and hit #65 on the Billboard chart.
In 1994, Gang Starr came out with their fourth album as a duo, Hard to Earn. It included one of their most well known songs of all time, "Mass Appeal". It hit #2 on the Top R&B/ Rap Albums chart and #20 on the Billboard chart. It was a less melodic album than their earlier releases but it was substituted with more hard edges. They later came out with two more well crafted albums.
Guru and DJ Premier continued to work together until 2005. When 2006 rolled around, Guru mentioned that Gang Starr had completely come to an end in several interviews. In February 2010 Guru suffered a heart attack which placed him into a coma until April 10, 2010 when he unfortunately died. The fortunate thing is the great legacy that he left behind. Decades of music and influence given to the Hip Hop World. Gang Starr left behind a collection of masterful works that included six studio albums. Their voice in the Hip Hop community is still heard and DJ Premier continues to pump out his brand of Hip Hop beats and productions. Guru is known as one of the greatest MCs to ever rock the mic and DJ Premier as one of the greatest producers that has ever hit the speakers.
Here are some various links to support the old school Hip Hop brand of Gang Starr:
"Mass Appeal" video link:
"Just to Get a Rep" video link:
"Take It Personal" video link: